A Useless Fiction / uma ficção inútil – 小說無用 – tiểu thuyết vô dụng

country, year Nekoristna fikcija1
Macau, 2014

experimental documentary

running time

directed by
Cheong Kin Man

Cantonese, Portuguese, Burmese, French, Vietnamese


Confused, frustrated but encouraged, he puts his whole “„him” into this film. The filmmaker approaches his life struggles as a dilemma between the filmed and the non-filmed, the translation and the impossibility of communication, the voice-over and the subtitles. As a fan of Kon Ichikawa and Yasunari Kawabata, and a lover of Michio Takeyama’s novel „Harp of Burma”, he tries to express that complexity in a series of multilayered fictive/true stories through visual, audial and, especially, textual manipulations while questioning the power structure of image quality. Mixing his banal daily life, his past, and the filmmaking process, the filmmaker raises several anthropological and life questions on nature, origin, language, non-existence, identity, visual media and dominant cultures. He strives to find answers in a circle of interpreting himself in a conflict between oppressed and powerful languages, retranslating what is translated and letting others reinterpret him from both within and without the film. Everything becomes useless when one transcends boundaries inside the mind.

»I tried to show how I had been struggling among contrasts from different cultures and ways of thinking through languages«. CHEONG KIN MAN


A Manabout the author
Cheong Kin Man was born in Macau in 1987 when the territory was still under Portuguese administration. He worked as translator and interpreter for the Macau government and studied visual anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. He made a documentary „Ou Mun Ian, Macaenses – 35 Identidades, 35 Entrevistados” („35 Identities, 35 Interviewees”, 2009) and wrote several articles. He also studied in Portugal, Germany, Singapore and is currently living in Belgium. He speaks and translates several languages.

Macao Water Fountains (2008, 29min)(Producer); Ou Mun Ian, Macaenses – 35 Entrevistados, 35 Identidades (2009, 33min); uma ficção inútil – 小說無用 – tiểu thuyết vô dụng (2014, 31 min).

festivals, awards
2015 Rising Star Award – Canada International Film Festival; Short Film Corner of the Festival de Cannes; Cinemística.